Photo of Khaw Boon Wan from CNA

Singapore’s millionaire Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan has achieved nothing after meeting the Malaysian’s Economic Affairs Minister over the High Speed Rail issue last Saturday (Aug 11). According to the Transport Ministry, the meeting was unsuccessful and had to be postponed at a later indefinite date:

“Discussions on the high-speed rail (HSR) project between Singapore and Malaysia will continue in the coming weeks, after Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan met Malaysia’s Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali last weekend.”

Since May, the Singapore government has repeatedly demanded for an “official notice” after Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced that the HSR will be terminated due to the country being in a trillion RM (S$330 billion) debt.

Singapore’s Penang-born Transport Minister is however not empathetic to Malaysia’s finance and even threatened to charge Malaysia more than the contracted US$125 million penalty. As Malaysia could neither afford to pay the penalty amount, Malaysia was then forced to change their position and suggested that the project be postponed indefinitely until the country’s finances improved.

Angered by Malaysia’s work-around of the contract, Singapore’s Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan then demanded that a meeting be held by July 31. The demand was then ignored by Malaysia, which eventually only took place last Saturday (Aug 11). Malaysia’s Economic Affairs Minister dismissed the demand as only a suggestion by the Singapore government and that the Malaysian government was too busy to entertain Singapore:

“That is Singapore’s suggestion. As I mentioned in my letter last week we will firm up the date. We are quite occupied for Parliament, hopefully we will meet in early August.”

The HSR project development in Singapore is expected to spend S$300 million, which Singapore’s Transport Minister refuse to accept responsibility for. Minister Khaw Boon Wan continued to pour money onto the HSR project and at the same while pushing the blame to Malaysia.